Since 2013 we have been wondering about the immense possibilities of using insects as food and feed. There are more than 1,000 edible insect species, about 80% of the global population already consumes them directly. However, after analyzing various markets, we came to the conclusion that the most urgent need for insect protein was in animal feed: the demand for farmed animals is booming due to the increase in population – we’ll get to 10 billion by 2050- and the increase in income, which is correlated to animal meat consumption. Currently there’s a bottleneck in livestock production: feed.
We found out that the prices in animal feed are steadily rising and this could be a limiting factor for growth. We also found out that black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae are not only an excellent and natural way to recycle food waste, but also an ideal substitute of fishmeal, one of the commodities whose price has increased the most lately and whose production contributes to marine life depletion.
We’ve received a few awards for this project (in chronological order): the best green&circular economy idea award at the Italian round of the 2014 Global Social Venture Competition; the 1st prize for the Agrifood-Cleantech category at StartCup Puglia 2014; the 1st prize for the Agrifood-Cleantech category at Premio Nazionale per l’Innovazione 2014; we were one of the 4 winners of the “Call for ideas” prize organized by SiFood-ComoNext; we were one of the two winners of the prize “Innovazione contro lo spreco alimentare” organized by Altran; in early 2016 we got the “Premio dei premi” honor by the Cotec Foundation/Ministry of Education&Research.
Trivia: the company name comes from the Diptera order, which encompasses all flies. It’s a bit of a black humor inside-joke, since Diptera means “that has two wings”: the larvae that we use to make our products will never get on their two wings…